Friday, 30 April 2021

The Guild

New T-shirt design - available from the Prawnsoda Shop. Plus 15% off everything until 3rd of May.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

Bugs & Beasts 2

Species 29, Orange Tip, 14 April 2021. Still want an open wing shot.

Species 30 photographed, Painted Lady, 20 April 2021.

Hard to get - open winged Small White.

Fifteen Adders spotted so far (at least 13 individuals).

Adder photos by James - couldn't get close enough with my camera.

Butterflies: First Sightings 2021 (2)
 Apr 09 Speckled Wood (x3) Fresh
 Apr 09 Holly Blue Fresh
 Apr 14 Orange Tip Fresh
 Apr 20 Painted Lady Fresh

Monday, 12 April 2021

On This Day 2018

Three years ago today...
A double figure brown trout on the fly, followed by a 7lb rainbow from the legendary Lechlade - doesn't feel like 3 years...

Friday, 2 April 2021

Bugs & Beasts 1

The butterflies are starting to emerge, Peacock Butterfly.

Small Tortoiseshell, first spotted 26 February!

Hidden Brimstone, 29 March.

First Slowworm of the year, spotted 29 March.

One of seven Pike seen lurking in Cold Spring Pond.

Butterflies: First Sightings 2021
 Feb 26 Small Tortoiseshell (x2) Overwintered
 Mar 21 Small White Fresh
 Mar 22 Red Admiral Overwintered
 Mar 22 Comma (x7) Fresh
 Mar 29 Peacock Butterfly (x10+) Fresh
 Mar 29 Large White Fresh
 Mar 29 Brimstone (x10+) Wintered / Fresh
 Mar 29 Small Tortoiseshell (x10+) Fresh

Monday, 22 March 2021

Season Review 2020/21

Covid-19 and the extended Barbel Challenge. A plague, barbel, Brexit, barbel, lockdowns and barbel - a weird season to say the least! The virus and restrictions meant staying close to home - light on pike fishing - but I still got out locally when I could. So here it is - my twelfth season review - written monthly as I went along...

Closed Season: Strange times; lockdown was in place and fishing was banned. It was a shame because I had my eye on a few canal targets - pike, chub and carp. As soon as we were allowed to fish me and James hit a small pond for some tench action. And 24 hours fishing for wels resulted in a 1000lb+ bag of fish including a 30lb+ PB each!

June: Opening day saw me and James searching for rudd in the boat - except the boat had a puncher - so a long walk chucking bread out and watching for fish - but we both found a cracking rudd each before a storm cut the trip short. I started my quest for 100 local barbel and bagged 15 of them over 3 short trips - not a bad start.

July: My barbel quest continued and I added another 26 fish over six trips to 8lb 7oz (total now 41). The Farm was calling, so a train journey and eight tench plus two beautiful crucians found the net - my only away day. And what better way to use up the maggots than a couple of trips catching the mighty gudgeon on the stick 'n' pin?!

August: A couple of storms dumped some fresh water in the river - and got the fish moving - I was mostly catching small barbel but a lovely double slipped up - always great to bag an early season double! A trip chasing rudd on The Fens didn’t go quite to plan - but a 5lb 13oz chub off the local river made up for it! Barbel total now 71.

September: Summer began to give way to autumn and I started the month with some cracking chub on floating crust - including 3 over five pounds to 6lb 3oz! A cold trip to The Tidal Trent provided some tough fishing - but it’s only our second visit - we’ll work it out. And locally I cracked my Barbel Challenge - summer total: 114!!

October: Pike-time! Opening day saw 9 mini pike and 56 perch on lures - a great start. But the next trip produced only one pike and one perch - the next two trips were blanks - very odd! I continued my Barbel Challenge (upping my target to 200) - and added another 32 barbel, including two doubles - season total now 146 barbel.

November: Lockdown 2.0 - we were allowed to go fishing, but I was avoiding public transport - pike fishing was out. Fortunately the barbel and chub are within walking distance - and I put a lot of miles in! Eight trips to the river saw 34 more barbel added to the Barbel Challenge, including double number 4 - season total: 180!

December: Lockdown 2.0 was rebranded as Tier 4 - same thing different name. I needed 20 more barbel to hit 1,000 from the local river - more miles walking back and forth - but I cracked it - and had a celebratory bottle of Blue Moon - brilliant! Biggest barbel was 9lb 7oz, and best chub was 5lb 0oz - but still no pike fishing.

January: New year - new Lockdown! Local fishing only, I'm running out of time to bag a double figure pike!! Not much fishing, just 3 trips to the Small River - the plan was to bag an elusive perch but conditions were against me. A barbel back-up plan produced 12 fish - including a fantastic new PB barbel at 14lb 2oz - get in!!

February: A cold and snowy start to the month - temperatures barely rising above freezing - then spring seemed to spring! Only 4 trips to the river - so lucky to have that barbel pull within walking distance. Eleven barbel landed - season total now 229! A dace mission was plagued by OOS trout - but there's still time to bag a big dace...

March: The final 2 weeks, and the final 4 trips to the local river. It was all about barbel - barbel have dominated my Covid-19 season and I really wanted to land 250 of them. Twenty one needed - 21 landed! The highlight of the month was barbel #250 - an 11lb 7oz beauty, my 6th double of the season - brilliant! Right, roll on the next one...

Monday, 15 March 2021

Barbel Challenge 2020/21

The initial target was 100 barbel over the summer season - cracked! But with Covid-19 restrictions and lockdowns limiting the pike season I decided to see if I could also add another 100 over the tougher winter season. Season total: 250 barbel, including 6 doubles to 14lb 2oz!

Starting the season on 800 small river barbel, the new target pushed me over 1,000 barbel from the river - something I couldn't have even dreamed of 11 years ago when I first cast a line in it! Making the most of the restrictive season - and a new PB was the icing on the cake!!

 Season No 5+ 7+ 10+ Best
 2010/11 27 1 0 0 6lb 6oz
 2011/12 44 14 8 0 9lb 12oz
 2012/13 56 34 20 6 12lb 4oz
 2013/14 8 5 4 0 7lb 13oz
 2014/15 71 33 16 1 10lb 1oz
 2015/16 127 45 15 0 9lb 4oz
 2016/17 70 31 15 2 11lb 15oz
 2017/18 132 56 23 2 10lb 9oz
 2018/19 101 36 13 1 10lb 3oz
 2019/20 164 69 28 5 12lb 1oz
 2020/21 250 77 20 6 14lb 2oz
 Total: 1,050 401 162 23 Breakdown

Thursday, 11 March 2021

The Tail Of Five Barbel

My familiar walk to the river, but this time as dawn was breaking - an early start as this was the last trip of the season - and I wanted five more Small River Barbel today. The early start wasn't needed as I didn't get my first bite until 3.10pm - and two barbel in two casts!

I had nearly lost faith - trudging about in the sunshine searching for fish in the clear water - fish that seemed to have vanished. Perhaps they had come on the feed now. And I soon landed another before loosing one to a hook-pull. That lost fish turned out to be important!

Then things slowed right down - I was running out of time. I remembered I had some old luncheon meat to use up - and the little splasher above took a fancy to it. I just needed one more. Just one more. Nearly out of daylight and in the last swim I had a bite...

What a way to finish! Barbel number 250 of the season, an 11lb 7oz beauty! I genuinely haven't swapped the order (you can tell from the light). And just to think; if I hadn't lost that fish earlier I'd have called it with the splasher - what a way to finish the season!!

Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Final Push

Quick - catch as many fish as you can - because next week we won't be allowed! The start of the final week of the season and five barbel, a chub and an obligatory trout landed - that'll do nicely!

Saturday, 6 March 2021

On This Day 2010

Eleven years ago today...
What a fantastic pike, a 25lb 4oz River Wye beauty.

Friday, 5 March 2021

Elusive Dace

An early morning start, time to track down a Spring dace and I could spot them in the clear water - but the trout repeatedly beat them to the trotted breadflake. A few times I struck into silver...

And careful fights before my hopes were dashed when small chub broke the surface. No dace landed! The weather started to turn nasty - I should have headed for home - but I had the barbel gear...

Barbel #238 - it's raining...

Barbel #239 - rain is getting heavier...

Barbel #240 - pissing down!